Speaking to the mass media for the first time since suffering his season-ending spine injury last year, Ryan Shazier made one thing very clear. He wants to play football again.
Holding a press conference to thank many for their support, from fans, local media, and his doctors/therapists, the first question he was asked was if he still aspires to play in the NFL.
“My dream is to come back and play football again,” Shazier said. “I’ve been working my tail off every single day.”
Shazier first mentioned having that hope several months ago in his first interview, a sitdown with Roosevelt Nix on his podcast. That’served as extra motivation in his rehab, which Shazier says is going better than doctors expected, a sentiment he’s repeated in previous one-on-one interviews.
While he has a long ways to go to get back to that point, he says he’s working to improve every day.
“I just try to stay positive every single day. I’m doing everything I can to get back.”
Ed Bouchette took a video of Shazier walking to the podium, assisted by a cane by clearly looking more comfortable than he did walking front and center at the NFL Draft.
Ryan Shazier walks to the podium pic.twitter.com/VOucpsafwH
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) June 6, 2018
Though the hope of playing football may seem too far out there to some, who are just hoping he can return to a normal life, Shazier explained why his intention is to get back on the field.
“At the end of the day, I’ve been playing the game since I was four years old. I’ve been loving the game since I was four years old. Just because I got hurt, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop loving the game of football…I feel like I gave everything I had, I got hurt, and I’m still going to give everything I have to come back.”
His 2018 season is over having been placed on Reserve/PUP last month. Doctors haven’t offered much of a timetable for when he could play in the future, telling him to take it one day at a time, but the feeling I get is that Shazier is shooting for a 2019 return.